Can college crime be prevented by student background checks?

study published in the journal Injury Prevention  – authored by Carol Runyan, a professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, Colorado – found that students with criminal records prior to college were more likely to engage in criminal activity during college than students with no criminal records. College Background ChecksThe study surveyed 6,972 students, and using cohort and case-control analyses identified college misconduct through college records and self-reports on a confidential survey of graduating seniors. It also examined pre-college behavior as indicated on admissions records, a survey and criminal background checks. Results showed that 8.5 percent of applicants with a criminal history were charged with crimes during college, while only 3.3 percent with pre-college criminal histories self-reported misconduct during the admissions process. The conclusion drawn – and something that is clearly indicated in the data – was that though pre-college behavior is a risk factor for college misconduct, screening questions on the application are not adequate to detect which students will engage in college misconduct. Instead, a program such as this would benefit from replication to determine the utility of criminal background investigations as part of admissions. What do you think – can college crime be prevented by student background checks?  ]]>

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